Monday 31 December 2012

Top Ten Books Read This Year Published This Year

Part Two of Favourite Reads of 2012! But before that, a message to you all.

In terms of blogging, 2012 has been generally excellent. I've been to events and met up with people. I've widened my tastes gradually. I just about organised a month of spookiness that actually went well. So to all the amazing authors whose works I read and enjoyed, to all the bloggers and publishers and other people who I've chatted to or met, to all you generally awesome people reading this...
May 2013 bring you much happiness!

And on to the books...

Title: Poltergeeks
Author: Sean Cummings
Reason: So much fun!

Title: Grave Mercy
Author: R. L. LaFevers
Reason: Kickass heroine and wonderful world building.

Author: Tom Pollock
Reason: Urban fantasy-literally. In an amazing sense. 

Author: Barry Lyga
Reason: Realistic, with great, fleshed out characters.

Title: The  Assassin's Curse
Author: Cassandra Rose Clarke
Reason: Ananna is smart and sassy. Full on adventure. (full review some day).

Title: Frostfire
Author: Zoe Marriott
Reason: Generally beautiful fantasy. (full review some day)

Title: Insignia
Author: S J Kincaid 
Reason: Technology and friendship and a really awesome story.

Title: Hollow Pike
Author: James Dawson
Reason: Atmosphere. Creepy. Diverse. Witches.

Title: Maggot Moon
Author: Sally Gardner
Reason: The friendship! The conspiracy! The huggability!

Author: John Green
Reason: ALL THE FEELS. I cannot explain how beautiful this is. My general reaction to reading this was.
Just, go and read it if you haven't read it.

Happy new year, people!

Sunday 30 December 2012

Top Ten Books Read This Year that weren't Published This Year

This will probably end up as a top 20 books I read this year...the best published this year, the best published beforehand. Up first, the oldies! Some were first published in the UK this year, but I'm going by their original publication date. Titles link to Goodreads, if the word Review is linked, it's to my full review. 

Title: Out
Author: Natsuo Kirino
Published: 1997
Review: Gory and a bit depraved, but excellent character development and motivation. 

Author: Hannah Harrington
Published: 2011
Review: Really emotional contemporary with a nice musical touch.

Author: Kendare Blake
Published: 2011
Review: Fun gory ghost story.

Title: Entangled
Author: Cat Clarke
Published: 2011
Review: Intriguing from the first two words.

Title: Heartless
Author:  Gail Carriger
Published: 2011
Review: Laugh out loud from beginning to end. 

Author: Ernest Cline
Published: 2011
Review: 80s kid dream, full of both retro and futuristic technology.

Title: Good Omens
Authors: Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
Published: 1990
Review: Darkly funny apocalypse fic.

Author: Markus Zusak 
Published: 2006
Review: Powerful look at the Holocaust that gets you really attached.

Title: Ash
Author: Malinda Lo
Published: 2010
Review: Magical, beautiful retelling of Cinderella.

Author: Stephen Chbosky
Published: 1990
Review: Look at teen life, every single aspect of it, friendship, abuse, mental issues, fitting in, standing out, general awesomeness. There wasn't a full review because it's impossible to describe how amazing it was.

Saturday 29 December 2012

Top Ten Books I Want of 2013

Yeah...I was going to publish this next Wednesday, but everyone else was doing it today. So...Extended Waiting on... Saturday! Possibly featuring past WoW picks, because I want to feature them again. Links lead to Goodreads!

Title: The Glass Republic
Author: Tom Pollock
Release Date: 1 August
Why I want it: I loved the London that Tom created and just can't wait to go back to it.

Title: Level 2
Author: Lenore Appelhans
Release Date: 15 January
Why I want it: Cool concept and refreshing take on the afterlife.

Title: The Program
Author: Suzanne Young
Release Date: 30 April
Why I want it: It's an interesting concept and the topic interests me.

Title: Inferno
Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon
Release Date: 19 March
Why I want it: I've stuck with Nick throughout his series and the majority of the Dark Hunter one. And it was an epic cliffhanger for Infamous. The title suggests that hell's breaking loose.

Title: Etiquette and Espionage
Author: Gail Carriger
Release Date: 5 February
Why I want it: If it contains anywhere near the amount of sly witty humour and fun as the last two books in the Parasol Protectorate series, it would be amazing.

Title: Clockwork Princess
Author: Cassandra Clare
Release Date: 19 March
Why I want it: Steampunk fantasy/paranormal  with generally awesome characters.  And pretty cover!

Title: Scarlet
Author: Marissa Meyer
Release Date: 5 February
Why I want it:  I love fairy tales. I love steampunk. The first in the series was awesome. Yay.

Title: Call of the Jersey Devil
Author: Aurelio Voltaire
Release Date: 28 May
Why I want it: I love Voltaire's music. The concept of this (New Jersey is the gateway to hell) is highly amusing, even if you don't live there, and I'm generally guessing this'll be facepalmingly funny.

Title: Valkyrie
Author: Kate O Hearn
Release Date: 2 May
Why I want it: I've been telling myself for a long time I'll read some more Norse myths. This isn't exactly one, but it has elements and mythology fiction, I tend to enjoy anyway.

Title: Undone
Author: Cat Clarke
Release Date: 31 January
Why I want it: I loved Cat's other books-and talk from friends has said it's even better. Not sure if this is possible. Must check it out.

Seriously, there's more than ten books I really want coming out in 2013. I really cannot list them all. They'll feature in upcoming WoWs (as long as I remember to do them!). In the meantime though.... *eyes up huge box of books to read*

Friday 28 December 2012

The Top Ten Covers of 2012

This has been a year of epic covers! This post most certainly hasn't caught them all, but they're the first I could think of!

Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter. The dress! And I really like the border, the way it has little Alice in Wonderland references like the card suits and general prettyness.

The American  cover of  Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin. I like the UK one for its simplicity, but this one has a beautiful dress and setting with the clouds and umbrella and text.

Cinder by Marrissa Meyer. The shoe is the recognisable bit of the Cinderella, and the metal skeleton in the leg is a little creepy, but subtly sets the tone for the premise of the book-cyborg Cinderella.

Harbinger by Sarah Wilson Ettienne. The red moon is interesting, the background is good, but the red ties it all together.

Incarnate by Jodi Meadows. I love the use of the lighting and the way they work together. And the butterfly mask is gorgeous.

Pure by Jennifer L Armentrout. Actually, all of the Covenent series (which I need to get reading some time!) I love the way the flowers seem to be made of light and smoke at the same time, apart from Elixir, which is water. So pretty!

A Million Suns by Beth Revis. The space/stars/nebula/whatever the technical term for it is. And the colours. I'm also guessing that the girl and boy in the spacehship are important too.
What's Left of Me by Kat Zhang. For a book that's about two girls in one body, this is infinitely clever-the two girls in one shape.

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo. I don't know why, but it's strangely nice to look at.

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman. The detail in that picture! And the dragon!

There was also a big thing about racism on YA covers. I've noticed this with a couple of books, but never really thought about it. There is a very well worded piece on this that can be found here though!

Once again-what would be on your list of favourite covers this year?

Thursday 27 December 2012

Top Ten Boyfriends/Girlfriends/Romantic Partners

Did everyone have a nice Christmas/holiday time?  I certainly did! 

So... I did a whole tonne of end of year lists. Well, five. But anyway. I'm going to do the same this year.
I see everyone today doing book boyfriends/girlfriends! *decides to kick off with this topic*. I'm not sure if the fact that this was kind of impossible to write says more about my memory or general high standards. But I thought of ten people to have as personal hot water bottles!

1. Nick Gautier from The Chronicles of Nick by Sherrilyn Kenyon (reviews here). Nick is sassy, into manga, and a general badass. 

2.  Augustus Waters from The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. He's really sweet and there's so many reasons that you need to give him a cuddle. He's also very good at seeing the bright side of life. And conversations with him would be interesting.

3. Professor Lyall from The Parasol Protectorate series  by Gail Carriger.  He's quiet and smart, another personality type I like. Plus, I need someone organised around because I'm not!

4. Madame LeFoux from The Parasol Protectorate series. Mad inventress who is plays around with all kinds of steampunky gadgetry and is also strong willed and witty.

5. Annie from Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden. She's so sweet and huggy and funny and has an excellent imagination.

6. Sam from Speechless by Hannah Harrington. He's sweet, nonjudgmental, and seems like he'd be really cuddly.


7. Boris Airay, the Cheshire Cat from Alice in the Country of Hearts. Punk Cheshire Cat! That's all I have to say. 

8. Magnus Bane from Cassandra Clare's books. Warlock. Funny. Why not?

9. Ananna from The Assassin's Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke. Complete sass mistress, clever, and generally awesome.


10.  After ten whole minutes of sitting at the screen, plus one skype call, my friend and I have concluded there isn't anyone else and therefore you'll have to go with nine generally awesome, cuddly people. 

So yeah. Who's on everyone else's lists?

Sunday 23 December 2012

Things that you may have missed (because I almost did too)

I got through 180 emails yesterday! I'm pretty amazed at this. Ok, half of these were newslettery things sent out, but I'm surprised that I didn't miss out on anything urgent.  There were other things though!


I've been involved in the tours for both of Neil James' Skyship Academy  (and still haven't gotten round to reading them yet). However, I found an email with some nice cover art for the last book in the trilogy, Strikeforce!

There's also stuff relating to Marie Lu's Legend series! I reviewed and loved Legend, and now Prodigy
has a lot of stuff going on!  It has a trailer, and a game. And a chapter sample! 

I won some zombie e-books from Cat Clarke! It was part of a celebration for the e-book release of Undone! Cat's books are amazing-go check them out!

 Ooh! Important thingy regarding free books if you want them!
Like probably most of you, I have too many books. Well, you can't actually have too many. I  just have a too small room and bookshelf and a mother who does not really understand this. I tend to give books away to charity shops or other second hand places, but I also take notice of the "don't sell"  thing on the proofs. I'm also slow at doing book culls. As a result, I have a small pile of proofs and books I have read and don't really want to read again.
This is where you come in. If you want one, email me!  There'll soon be a list of books that I have up for the taking.  In future, they'll be tagged  "books you can have".
This is UK only. They'll be free, unless you're kind enough to want to send me postage money via paypal or amazon. I just want to free up some space!

And finally, as I may forget, HAPPY CHRISTMAS/NEW YEAR/SOLSTICE (though that's gone)/HANNUKAH (also gone)/WINTER/GENERAL TIME OF GOOD CHEER.
I'll be back soon properly. Have a great time :)

Saturday 22 December 2012

Book Review- Foretold by Jana Oliver

So the world didn't end... yay!

Title: Foretold
 Author:  Jana Oliver
Series:   The Demon Trappers
Published:  2 August 2012 by Macmillan
Length: 416 pages
Warnings:  non-graphic sex, violence
Source: Publishers
Other info: The other books in this series are Forsaken, Forbidden, Forgiven. Foretold is the last in the series. Clicking on names leads to my reviews.
Summary :  Riley faces the final battle for humanity and Beck's heart—and Hell is the least of her problems
Now that Riley’s managed to (just barely) fend off Armageddon, everything’s changed. Well . . . most things. After their passionate kiss before the big battle in the cemetery, Beck is back to treating her like a little girl, as if nothing ever happened. While she’d love to just tell him off and move on, Riley vowed to take care of Beck the way he’s taken care of her since her father’s death—but she’s about to get a whole lot more than she bargained for. When she’s commissioned to go with Beck to his hometown and help him care for his dying mother, they stumble too close to a dark and murderous secret, one that Beck fears will drive Riley away from him forever. As chaos breaks loose, Riley may be Beck's only hope for redemption . . . and survival.

Meanwhile, up in Atlanta, it’s quickly becoming clear that Heaven may have won a battle, but the war is far from over. Riley and Beck face a stormy future, as Lucifer's ex-right-hand-man, Sartael, proves himself to be more resilient than anyone thought. He has Atlanta in his grip and is about to begin a brutal war with the prince of Hell. As the seconds tick down toward a final confrontation, it's up to Riley and the man she loves to finally defeat their old enemy, or lose everything they've fought for.
Review: I’ve been with this series from the start, so it’s really odd going into this book knowing that it’s the last one. So...yeah. Riley’s come back and the demons are planning their big uprising  and that’s all going to happen.  More important is Beck and Riley, and their relationship. They both realise how much they love each other, but that means that they also can’t hide from their pasts. 
Of the four, this is most definitely the most character driven book. And when I say that, I mean, by one person. Beck really gets the spotlight here, which is nice seeing as he goes through a lot of stuff in the earlier books and we now finally learn all the ins and outs of his backstory-his relationship with his mother, how he was generally brought up. I liked this, but I must say, it felt a bit different in the series. Compared to all the action, it’s both nice and a little bit “oh” to go back to relatively mundane events.
The second half is where it all really kicks off. There was so much happening! We got a lot of demons, both regular pyrofiends and geofiends and such, and a some other things. There’s a huge amount of action- fighting demons, Riley and Ori, and Beck learning to go his own way. There’s some rather intriguing things about the workings of the trappers and the Grand Masters and whatnot, which is good. And Jana’s depiction of Hell is really interesting-a little more on the emotional side of things.
Riley whines a lot in this one. I understand why, with people going missing and nearly dying and the fact that she’s now being expected to fight with Ori randomly and such. But it was a bit annoying. She has matured over the course of the series though. Beck, you just really feel like you have to give him a hug. His characterisation is the best-lots of attention to detail for his personality and thoughts, mainly his pronunciation but also his action tics in general. Ori also has really good scenes. I didn’t like him to start with because he was a bit stalkery and in the first book, useless, but Jana assured me that we’d see more of him further on-and we did. He was handled really well in Foretold and I loved his last scene, even though it was a little sad. But it fit so well with him . All the characters really have developed.
Riley and Beck are perfect for each other! *shipping them hard* They go through lots of things,  but get so much closer and happier.
The ending!!! It works and is so sweet and is also circular format with the start of the series. I’m glad Beck gets his happy ending and is doing well in terms of being a Trapper. The best thing about the ending of this book (and the series) was that it ended in the right place. Jana hasn’t been irritating and dragged out the series longer than it needed  to be. It ended at the right time-when the main story is over we’re satisfied, but still have space for headcanons.

Overall:  Strength 5 tea to a great ending to a great series. Though we won’t get any more of Riley, I’d definitely like to see more from Jana.

Thursday 20 December 2012

Book Review- Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman


Title: Good Omens
 Authors: Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
Published:  First published 1990.
Length:  398 pages
Source: bought
Summary : According to "The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter," "Witch" (the world's only "completely" accurate book of prophecies, written in 1655, before she exploded), the world will end on a Saturday. Next Saturday, in fact. Just before dinner.

So the armies of Good and Evil are amassing, Atlantis is rising, frogs are falling, tempers are flaring. Everything appears to be going according to Divine Plan. Except a somewhat fussy angel and a fast-living demon--both of whom have lived amongst Earth's mortals since The Beginning and have grown rather fond of the lifestyle--are not actually looking forward to the coming Rapture.

And someone seems to have misplaced the Antichrist.
Review:  The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter tells us that the world will end. Next Saturday. As foretold in Revelation, the Four Horsemen (or now, Bikers) will ride, Heaven and Hell will fight and the world will end. Crowley and Aziraphale are the only demon and angel that don’t want this to happen. And to make sure that it doesn’t, they have a lot to do. For example, deal with the Antichrist-an 11 year old named Adam who is a generally nice boy. Other things happen too. Lots of other things.
I’ve not read much of Pratchett’s work (I think Nation and Maurice and that’s it) and only a little bit of Gaiman’s. But what I have read of both was generally awesome, and Good Omens is no exception!
The dramatis personae really sets the scene for this. Quote:
Satan (a Fallen Angel, the Adversary). Beelezebub (a Likewise Fallen Angel, and A Prince of Hell), *other Fallen Angels* Crowley (an Angel who did not so much Fall as Saunter Vaguely Downwards).
 Also generally descriptive of this book are the explanation for the M25 being such a hellhole, the Angel’s conversation with the Snake, and the Satanic nunnery in which the nuns are meant to keep talking. If you  laughed, liked, or weren’t morally offended by these things, then you’ll enjoy the rest of this.
There’s a lot of plots that intertwine with each other eventually. Crowley and Azireaphale running around, Anathema dechipering Agnes’ prophecies, the Four Horsepersons getting together, the witchfinders running  around, and Adam and his friendship group. There’s also a lot of shorter plots featuring characters for one block of text and then moving on. For some reason, this works in Good Omens (cameo characters in this volume don’t work in other books).
The main characters are all one of a kind. Crowley and Aziraphale aren’t your typical angels/demons, and most of this defys your stereotypical views of heaven and hell. I loved the Four and the way they’re presented-both darkly funny and a little creepy (especially when their disguises drop) at the same time.
The thing that really makes Good Omens is the writing. The “Who wrote what bit”  of the Q&A proves you can’t say exactly which is Neil’s and which is Terry’s, but I’d say they’re both equally good. The footnotes! There’s more of them at the start, but they crop up throughout in amusing and appropriate places. The writing style of the whole thing contains many pus and is full of sarcasm and dry wit.
Overall:  Strength 5 tea to a comedy of apocalyptic proportions you just have to read again and again.